YesNo1: Affirmative and rejective responses to negative assertions and questions

Principal investigators:
Prof. Dr. Manfred Krifka
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; ZAS Berlin
Prof. Dr. Sophie Repp
University of Cologne

Funding period:
2014-2017; continuation of this project is “YesNo2: Affirmative and rejective responses to negative assertions and questions”

Project description:
The project investigates reactions to assertions and questions that consist of answer particles like yes, no (German) doch and paralinguistic elements like m-hm and m-m. It focuses on assertions and questions containing a negation, for which it is well known that reactions can be ambiguous and that different languages prefer different interpretations. The project examines possible and preferred interpretations in German vs. English, investigating in particular the influence of contextual, semantic and syntactic factors. The methods employed are acceptability judgements experiments, eye movement experiments with visual scenes and eye-tracking reading experiments. The findings will be interpreted in a theory of sentence meaning and discourse interpretation.